Summer Swim Season Wraps Up At Taylor

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One of the shortest swim seasons in the 20-year history of Taylor Pool will begin to wind down next week.

The shortened swim calender is mostly due to the early start of classes in the Payson Unified School District. Since most of the pool lifeguards attend PHS, staff will not be available to oversee day-long activities after school starts July 31.

"We only have about three (guards) who don't go (to PHS)," Town Recreation Coordinator Michelle Beach said.

According to Beach, from July 31 to Aug. 17, the schedule will include adult aerobics weekdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and to 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Also on weekdays, open swims will be held 3:30 p.m. to 5:25 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, open swims are slated from 1 to 5 p.m.

Taylor Pool will provide a cool break for Arizona State University football players when they visit the pool Aug. 17. The occasion will mark the third summer that the PAC-10 team has taken a break from preseason practices at Camp Tontozona to enjoy the pool.

At the onset of the swim season, Taylor Pool was originally scheduled to open May 24. However, the opening was postponed until May 31 partly because long time pool manager Jim Quinlan resigned and a sufficient roster of trained lifeguards was not available.

Parks and recreation officials tapped Cassie Bradford to replace Quinlan as the pool manager. Austin White, who had just returned from a church mission, assumed the duties of head swim instructor. Bradford and White both worked at Taylor for several summers.

Payson High School senior Shea Hatch, 17, was appointed the new head coach of the town recreation swim team. A Payson swim team member since she was 4-years-old, Hatch is the daughter of former Payson Pike coach Dani Hatch.

Lifeguards Josh Blalock and Melleny McLaws were chosen to serve as assistant coaches. Under the direction of the trio, about 80 team members practiced each weekday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

During the summer, the team competed in meets against swim squads representing Camp Verde, Prescott and Cottonwood.

Probably the most popular offering at the pool was the morning and evening adult aerobic classes.

Each Friday, the classes featured theme days. Among the themes created by the instructors were Polynesian, Western, Latin, 40s-50s years and 60s-70s years.

For the younger set, the pool hosted teen nights each Tuesday. Each event was highlighted by prizes, games, piped-in music and a well-stocked concession stand. Those events proved popular for both teens and pool employees.

"My morning guards wanted to work them," White said. "They were a lot of fun."

The swimming lessons drew overflow numbers to each of the four sessions. The final session wraps up today (Friday).

Other highlights of the season included the Discover Scuba and Bubble Maker programs, the early morning adult lap swims and the parent and tot program.

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